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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Google Play Testing

      I figured out a way to test games on my tablet without the android driver I'm still missing. I can use Google Play's alpha testing feature to send the game to the tablet whenever I reach a milestone worth testing out. I can also use this opportunity to get used to how Google Testing works. When I conduct a beta and invite increasingly large amounts of people each time, I want to tell people (with confidence) how to find the beta and when they can play it.

     By the looks of things, I just upload an updated APK and it will be available to everyone in the Yotes Games Google Group that signs in and clicks on the link to the game. I'll invite people to the group when the beta is about to come out. I'll do closed alpha testing with myself and friends at school for now though. I'm uploading the test versions under the name of the free demo version of the game so testers don't have to pay $2 for the beta. Once you mark an app as free it can't be changed later, so the demo version is basically set  in stone now. It takes about 2 hours for the alpha and production versions to go live once I update the APK so I'm assuming betas will work the same way. 

     The Google Group is a simple email list wherein everyone in it will get email notifications on what is posted in the group. I plan on leaving it open as a sort of forum for beta testers to talk about the game and tell me what bugs pop up or what features need improvement. Opting out of testing is a click away so anyone who wants to drop out can do so at anytime. I also learned that I can run tests on improved versions of the game while a production release is out. This could be very helpful in the future with games that evolve over time.

     The only remaining mysteries are whether I need to change the build number/product version and if alpha/beta testing when a production version is out will be free for testers. I'm also a bit worried about potential leaks of the game's APK and people playing an unfinished/broken version of Unicorn Quest. 

     But beta testing is months and months away. Right now I have to get back to reaching my smaller development goals. Like getting walk animations done.

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